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Article posted: 8/2/2013 1:07 PM

Lake Villa woman hosts walk-a-thon for niece awaiting second kidney transplant

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A Lake Villa resident is hosting an Aug. 18 walk-a-thon in the village's Loffredo Park to help her 34-year-old niece who is need of a kidney transplant for the second time in her life.

All funds from what Chris Schnitzer calls the Family Fun Day Fundraiser walk-a-thon will benefit Jamie Starks' medical bills. Starks, who lives in Douglasville, Ga., said she will visit Lake Villa with her two young children and most of her family to attend the fundraiser.

"I'm hoping that my fatigue will just have to wait. I'm gonna get out there and we're gonna have fun," Starks said.

Her fatigue is a result of a constant dialysis schedule and the many medical procedures she's gone through since March, when her kidney failed, she said. Doctors at Piedmont Hospital, where she works as a medical biller, told her she needs a transplant.

Stark was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2002. Her first kidney transplant came from her mother, Patricia Deavers, in 2008 after one of her kidneys failed.

After her second kidney failure, Starks has been unable to work much and now spends most of her time caring for her two children, Jace, 1, and Devin, 9. She said it can be difficult when she isn't able lift her son because of the weakness from dialysis.

"If my son is crying (at night), I can't get up to take care of him. It takes a toll on everyone in the house," she said.

Schnitzer said Starks' hefty medical bills and her devotion to her family are the reason she reached out to the National Foundation for Transplants to help her host the walk-a-thon.

"My family is a huge part of my life, even though they're 800 miles away. I would do anything for them," she said.

The Family Fun Day Fundraiser will feature a 5K walk, three-legged races, children's activities, a silent auction and a raffle for a $500 Visa gift card and 15 to 20 gift baskets donated by Lake Villa community members.

Registration for the event starts at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18, and the walk-a-thon starts at 10:30 a.m. the same day. Tickets for the walk-a-thon are $25 per person, and the raffle tickets are $5 each.

For information on the walk-a-thon or to buy tickets, call Schnitzer at (847) 217-2325. The deadline to RSVP is Sunday, Aug. 11.

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